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Wenger wants ‘Arsenal man’ Jack to stay

Key players could return for Gunners’ Premier League clash against Stoke City – as boss insists he wants midfielder Wilshere to remain at the Emirates

29 March, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal contract expires at the end of the season

ARSENAL are hoping to welcome a host of key players back into the fold ahead of this weekend’s Premier League showdown against Stoke City.

Jack Wilshere, Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey all missed the latest round of international matches with various knocks and niggles.

Lacazette, who has been out of action for six weeks after undergoing knee surgery, and Ramsey, who had “a minor procedure” on a groin problem, were both back in training this week.

The Gunners also haven’t given up hope that Wilshere will make the game at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday after he withdrew from the England squad after picking up a knock in training.

Laurent Koscielny should also be fit following back and hip issues after playing 90 minutes for France on Tuesday, while fellow defenders Hector Bellerin (knee) and Nacho Monreal (back) are also in the running.

Manager Arsene Wenger will, however, have one eye on next Thursday’s crucial game against CSKA Moscow, when he names his side to face Stoke and surely won’t take any risks.

With that in mind Lacazette could find himself on the bench. The French forward’s return to fitness is especially significant for Arsenal in the Europa League due to the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligibility to play in the competition.

Meanwhile, Wenger has reiterated his desire to keep Wilshere at the club. Before the international break Wilshere, whose contract expires at the end of the season, revealed that he was told that he could leave the Gunners last summer if the right offer came in.

The 26-year-old has made it clear that he wants his future sorted out as soon as possible. But Wenger has admitted the decision may now be out of his control.

“I can only reassure Jack that I want him to stay. We will make him a proposal and after that we also have to accept that he is at an age where he will have offers from somewhere else,” said the Arsenal boss. “Personally, I have put my weight in for him to stay, I want him to stay and I think he’s an Arsenal man.”

The Frenchman also revealed that Wilshere has already gained praise from rival managers, including AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso.

He added: “Gattuso said Jack has got the technique of a Spanish player and the character of an English player, and I think that’s well-judged and that’s why you want him to stay.”

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